Here’s My Number

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Here’s My Number

But frankly, it’s also terrifying.

Thus far, I’ve never been met by any rejection worse than “I already have a girlfriend,” which has been qualified each time with something like “…but it’s lovely to meet you” and a meaningful, soft-eyed look. Whether this is true or not, it’s a kindness. Women are socialized to take care of other people’s feelings. I resent this when it’s expected of me, but having it cradle my ego a little in these situations is… actually, really kind of nice. Because despite the fact that even when they reject you, women tend to soften the blow, asking them out is terrifying. It’s terrifying to tell a girl that something about her, her particular beauty, her presence, moves you. It feels incredibly revealing. It’s a lot of power to give.

All of this has got me thinking about the way I’ve historically treated straight guys. Because who asks me out at random in public places? Not girls, sadly, but plenty of men. When I was a young, angry dyke, I developed a method for responding to their unwanted attention that had nothing to do with caretaking feelings: I punished them. I was mad. I had a large and justifiable chip on my shoulder about the multiple interlocking “isms” that we lesbians discourse on so well. I was mad that because I’m small and pretty, straight men assumed I would be available to them. I was mad about the gross, oppressive harassment I got — men telling me to smile, commenting on my body, describing things they wanted to do to me, grabbing me — so that when a guy would respectfully ask me out, it just felt like more of the same onslaught, one more piece of unwanted attention. In my younger years, when I was salty and looking for conflict with the straight world, I’m sure I yelled at and humiliated more than one nice, well-meaning guy just for expressing interest in me.

Coming home from a disastrous date the other night, I waited for a train. A freak cold spell had interrupted our late summer weather, and I was wearing a dramatic wool pencil skirt that sharply contrasted with the dominant Bay Area fashion meme of polar fleece and denim. A guy came up to me. “Excuse me,” he said, tentative. I felt my face wanting to take on a sneer but held off on rolling my eyes. “Yes?” I said, somewhat shortly. “Um... I just noticed you, and. I wanted to say 'hi.'” This sounded familiar, probably because it was almost exactly what I’d said in one of my earliest clumsy attempts with a girl on the street just weeks before. I had a hit of compassion. “Oh,” I said, disarmed. “I’ve been saying that to girls a lot myself lately. It’s awkward, isn’t it? Well, I’m gay. But thanks for the compliment.”

I hope that turning over this leaf signifies enough of a lesson learned that I won’t have to meet my comeuppance in the form of a girl who responds to me the way I used to respond to men. Regardless, I am glad to have had that moment of feeling brotherly camaraderie with this awkward, bearish, scruffy guy, who was clearly unsure of himself but approached me anyway. I understood the mix of anxiety and hope that made him do it.

I know, now, how you’re afraid to be vulnerable to a stranger, how exposing it is to say, “You hold this thing which means beauty to me” — but the desire for a moment of connection with that beauty, and the hope for more, outweighs the fear.



Comments [49]

Tosha's picture

wow

today I'm getting to catch up on every great article I missed before...this is gorgeously written and completely inspiring.  Thank you.  Totally lovely.

MrEgirl's picture

how to politely turn someone down?

Being a gruff Taurus, I have a tendency to try to head off the incoming proposal from a friend with, "you're not my type," although I'm sure that's really not the best way to do it. I rarely am approached randomly where I can say, "sorry, I'm not single," although even when I am, I find it hard to tell that lie. So, how do you softly turn down a friend or is it really just, "hey, I like just being friends with you"?

cadrmrgrl's picture

Sometimes you just have to suck it up?

Do you remember being young bold and unafraid of putting yourself out there.  

Suppose I never thought in terms of “putting yourself out there” … for me, it was more a matter of fact that when I wanted something, I went after it without hesitation.  Not sure exactly what happened along the way that makes me hesitate on making the first move.  For me, it depends on the type of person.  For example, someone who is open, lively, and a natural conversationalist – I have no problem engaging that person because most of the work has been done already.  The problem is I’m typically attracted to Taurus’s who traditionally are quiet and stoic – their presence is intriguing and sensual but highly intimidating.  As a semi-introverted Gemini, I find that immensely difficult to approach a Taurus woman let alone ask her out.  So if anyone has advice on this matter, I’d be grateful.  Other than that I suppose that sometimes you just have to suck it up? (no pun intended)

Much Love Smile

p~

MrEgirl's picture

speaking for taurians...

I'm not actually sure what advice to give. lol. I have been told I seem somewhat difficult to approach, but I'm actually friendly. And being shy, I appreciate introductions and people making the effort to talk to me. Not that I'm not aware that this is a two way street. It's hard to say what part of me is my Taurian side or other aspects. Personally, I like good conversation or an invitation to a game or be involved somehow in what's going on. Taurians tend to like rich beauty in all its forms (not just body/face of interested parties), so if you can point to artwork, that might interest her. Perhaps ask her what her favorite drink, food, art, music, or outdoor scene is. You might entice her to ask you or you might just bring up a friendly meeting to further conversations. As for the approach, I think you just have to do it, like with anyone. Good luck and thanks for letting us Taurians know we're appreciated.

mickey06's picture

Nice post!

Way to be brave...maybe in the future i'll take the big step and ask a girl out. I'm not anticipating this to happen in any thing resembling the near future however.

Jules's picture

Cute dogs work too. Way to

Cute dogs work too. Smile

Way to go LHR!

Not2Taem's picture

And are a lot easier to manage

than small children. Just toss them a bone and let them lick themselves.

Robin Rigby's picture

I hear that works for men

I hear that works for men too.

Oh, wait, you said bone not boneR. My bad. Smile

minniesota's picture

Pass it on

I read the part about your recent encounter with the guy and thought to myself, "Sometimes we need to rely on the kindness of strangers."

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Robin Rigby's picture

Why thank you, Blanche.

Why thank you, Blanche.

minniesota's picture

Forgot to say something

Oh, I forgot to add that when I read L.H.R. been out since 1992 that made me feel so old because I was age 38 in 1992. Yeah, do the math folks.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Not2Taem's picture

VP retirement community

In a few years, we can start a VP retirement community. Start thinking of snappy saphic names for it.

Robin Rigby's picture

Speak for yourself!  I'm not

Speak for yourself!  I'm not ready for a retirement community by any stretch.  I am young at heart regardless of what the calendar says.  

Not2Taem's picture

Don't knock it

until you have seen the playground. And the film studio. And the theatre. And the oil wrestling ring. And the pool. Ah yes, the pool.  Wink

Did I mention the fans?

minniesota's picture

By your description...

I can't wait until I retire to the VP Retirement Home!

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Not2Taem's picture

No shuffling around and being bored

in our little community.  Party

Robin Rigby's picture

I don't know about asking

I don't know about asking versus being asked, since I have yet to be successful at the asking...  *sigh*

Okay, that's a lie.  I was successful once.  But we went on one date, she actually kissed me good night.  But then she couldn't hack it and went rushing back into the closet.  

Patrice Kamins's picture

Yes, I've changed from the

Yes, I've changed from the askee to the asker in the last few years.  While I may STILL not get what I want, at least I don't have to rely on telepathy to get my interest across.  It's better to state your desire and let the chips fall where they may . . .

L.H.R.'s picture

Agreed--it's better, and it's

Agreed--it's better, and it's way more fun!

Sarah Pappalardo's picture

sympathy for the devil

Okay okay...men are not the devil, i just had to use that title.

But for serious, I never developed empathy for the plight of men doing the asking until getting repeatedly and viciously rejected by women. It changes the way you see the world. Huzzah.

L.H.R.'s picture

It was too good a title to

It was too good a title to pass up, for sure. The empathy is a fine thing, but "repeatedly and viciously" sounds like a harsh way to come by it. Sorry! Sad

Patrice Kamins's picture

I think for some men, they

I think for some men, they approach it like sales calls, it's a matter of numbers.  For every ten or a hundred "no's", they'll eventually get a yes . . .

Rusty's picture

Secret weapon

I'm usually the asker rather than the askee. When I was still teaching, a couple of female students asked me out. That's an automatic, friendly but no doubt about it, "I'm flattered, but no."

The only other times I've been asked out, I was pushing a baby stroller. It happened both with my kids and with my grandkids. My theory is that taking care of a baby makes some butches more approachable. I said "yes" more than "no" and in every case appreciated that another woman was willing to take the risk of rejection.

I don't dare take the youngest grand daughter into Hillcrest or other heavily gay areas. Yes, she is that stinkin cute and would instantly turn me into a chick magnet and I'd end up engaged or something.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Robin Rigby's picture

Really?  Can I borrow her

Really?  Can I borrow her some Saturday afternoon?

Rusty's picture

Robin. You do not want that

Robin. You do not want that kind of power.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Robin Rigby's picture

Will it get me chicks?  Cause

Will it get me chicks?  Cause yes I do!

Julia Watson's picture

Aye, Boromir. But the hearts

Aye, Boromir. But the hearts of lesbos are easily corrupted... And the Bruiser of power has a will of its own.

Not2Taem's picture

Seprate playgrounds?

And just what do you plan to do with the child once adult play time gets underway?

Rusty's picture

This is for getting dates.

This is for getting dates. Not on the spot booty.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Robin Rigby's picture

Precisely.  Although...  I

Precisely.  Although...  I guess I'd just have to have Rusty on speed dial to come pick up the rugrat.

Julia Watson's picture

When cuteness attacks

OMG, Rusty. Bruiser as a weapon of mass seduction is a just plain unfair tactic.

Rusty's picture

No kidding. That would be

No kidding. That would be more unfair than any Hogwarts potion.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Julia Watson's picture

My kingdom for a bezoar!

My kingdom for a bezoar!

L.H.R.'s picture

Interesting theory about your

Interesting theory about your secret weapon! I think you're onto something.

Also, way to go for having boundaries with your students. That's nice to hear.

Not2Taem's picture

Here cums Rusty

with a baby carriage. 

Thanks for the image.  Big smile

yonks's picture

You're lucky

i always wonder how it is like to be asked out. The feeling that someone have notice you and take the risk to move toward... that seems really pleasant. 

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

camomileroses's picture

would you go out on a virtual

would you go out on a virtual date with me, skunky?  i think you're really cute and furry and funny and kind of adorable.  is there anything else i need to know about you before we go out?  what does that white stripe mean?  never mind, it doesn't matter.  i like you just the way you are.

"there will never be a technology more advanced than the human mind - fully engaged in the divine process of being. technology is a tool not a destination." me.

yonks's picture

Huh? maybe... i mean yea

Huh? Shy maybe... i mean yea sure Shy

its not that i don't go along with nature, its the nature who doesn't go along with me

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Robin Rigby's picture

Ah...  Love blooms on VP.  

Ah...  Love blooms on VP.  

Grace Moon's picture

hummm

Might you be the butch whisperer?

"exercise, discipline, then affection."

if only that formula worked on femmes...

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Amy Nicole Miller's picture

what?

I thought I was the butch whisperer!

Not2Taem's picture

New Title

So, how's that new title working out for you?

Line out the door of the Living Dead that really loved it the first time around?  Evil

Grace Moon's picture

... oh dear...

this is what i mean no formula for unruly femmes!

and on second thought you might be the butch slayer.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Julia Watson's picture

If LHR is the Butch Whisperer

If LHR is the Butch Whisperer and Amycakes is the Butch Slayer, can I be the Butch Tease?

Grace Moon's picture

how about

the Butch Wrangler...

tweet tweet @gracemoon

Rusty's picture

Sheesh

Gettin less and less safe round these parts for single butches.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Julia Watson's picture

Ha! (To both of you.) I think

Ha! (To both of you.)

I think that makes Cage the Butch Riddler, as in "Riddle me this..."

Not2Taem's picture

Nice save!

LOL

L.H.R.'s picture

This made me laugh...

This made me laugh...